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Try These Eyeshadow Color Combinations: From Natural To Bold

May 29, 2020 By

Eye makeup can be tricky. Which eyeshadow color combinations will give you a natural look that still accentuates your eyes? How can you try out a bold new color without looking like you’re wearing stage makeup? 

Here’s a secret: it’s all about layering. Choosing multiple eyeshadow colors that complement each other can give you the look you’re going for. Read on for a tutorial on how to choose colors that go well with each other and your unique skin tone.

Basic Rules For Applying Eye Makeup

There are many different ways to apply makeup. That’s the fun of it. But it helps to start with a basic process you can build on. Here’s a tried-and-true process for applying eyeshadow with information on which color goes where.

1. Apply a light or medium-light matte shade as a base color over your entire eyelid.

2. Using a narrow brush, apply a darker shade to fill in the crease of your eye.

3. Extend the darker shade to the outer part of your eye, concentrating the pigment in a sideways “V” shape. 

4. Use the lightest shade to fill in the area below your eyebrow.

5. You can also dab the light shade on the inner corner of your eyes to make you look more awake.

6. To finish, line your lash line with a dark color and apply mascara.1,2

eyeshadow | City Beauty

Consider this a starting point. You may want to layer on more than three colors. You may want to skip the dark shadow in the crease. You may be tempted to dab in some shimmer on the inside or outside corner of your eye. Feel free to experiment.

Basic Rules For Picking Eye Shadow Colors

When it comes to picking eye shadow colors, keeping a few rules in mind can help. 

1. Include A Neutral Color In Your Eyeshadow Palette

For most eyeshadow looks, you’ll want to start by covering your entire lid with a neutral shade. This will act as a base for the rest of the pigment. Even if you’re going for a bold look, you may find that a statement color works best as an accent.3

2. Mix Matte With Shimmer Eyeshadow Finishes

  • Light, shimmery tones will emphasize the eyes. Try using a shimmer shadow on the center point of your lid to make the eyes appear larger.
  • Matte tones will add definition. Try using a matte shadow on the lash line or crease to define your eyes.4

Mixing matte and shimmer finishes will give your eye makeup some depth for an expert-level look.

3. Pick A Light, Medium, And Dark Color For Blending Success

You may find that light and dark shades accentuate your eyes in different ways. Consider incorporating a light, medium, and dark color for a seamless transition when you’re blending the colors together.

  • Light colors highlight
  • Medium colors provide coverage
  • Dark colors define5

Using all three of these will allow you to blend your eye makeup and give your eyes more dimension.

4. Pay Attention To Your Skin’s Undertone

Regardless of your skin’s complexion – whether it be light, medium, or dark, your skin also has an undertone. If you look best in yellow, coral, and earthy tones, you likely have a warm undertone. If you look good in blues, reds and pinks, you likely have a cool undertone.6

Warm undertones look great with eye shadow colors, like golds and oranges. Cool undertones tend to look nice with colors, like blues, greens, and purples.7

skin tones | City Beauty

5. Pick Shades That Flatter Your Eye Color

In addition to your skin tone, you can use your eye color to pick complementary colors. Here are some general suggestions.

  • For hazel eyes, look closely at your eyes and — there are probably multiple specks of color you can build off. Greens, golds, and even blues may bring out the color in your eyes. Warm pinks and browns may complement them.
  • Gray eyes are enhanced by smoky, cool shades of gray and silvery blue. You may enjoy trying out a smokey eye look.
  • Cool blue eyes look great in soft, warm tones like champagne, tan, and coral. Lighter shades can make your beautiful blue eye color pop.
  • If you have brown eyes, you have several options. Brown tends to go well with many eyeshadow colors. Play with neutral, warm shades like salmon and bronze to make them pop.
  • Green eyes tend to pop on their own, so you may not need your eyeshadow color to do any heavy lifting. Try neutral pinks, tans, and browns or shades of purple for a statement look.
  • If you have a deep, dark eye color like a dark shade of brown or black, you may want to play with rich pigments. Bold shades like eggplant, silver, or even black could work for you.8


Ideas For Eyeshadow Color Combinations

Looking for some inspiration? Here are a few ideas for color combinations that work well together. 

Combinations For A Natural Look

Matte Beige, Shimmery Bronze, And Chocolate Brown

A spectrum of beiges and browns may be the most popular eyeshadow palette, and for good reason. It’s a universally flattering neutral look. Soft matte shades help even out the tone of the lid and add definition to the eyes. If you want more definition, add a slightly darker color to your crease.9 Pair this look with a red lip, and you’re good to go.

Pale Pink, Blush, And Dusty Rose

An eyeshadow palette of pinks can create a romantic, natural look. Apply a medium shade of pink to your entire eyelid. Use a pale pink to highlight the inner corner of your eyes and a darker pink to define your crease.10

eyeshadow color combinations | City Beauty

Ashy Gray, Taupe, And Black

Taupe is a cool shade of brown. If your skin has a cool undertone, you may find that taupe is more flattering than warm bronzes and chestnuts. Cover your eyelids with taupe, and use a cool cream or ashy gray to highlight the inner parts of your eyes. Black can be used sparingly right above your lash line to give you a natural look.11

Natural eye makeup goes great with red lipstick and a filled in brow. 

Color Combinations For A Smokey Eye

Gray, Espresso, And Black

For a classic smokey eye, apply a medium gray over the lid. Next, apply a black liner along the lash line. Layer a dark tone shadow like espresso over the liner, blending it halfway up the lid. Extend the espresso color underneath the eye to the lower lashes.12

Gold And Chocolate Eyeshadow

If you want to try a smokey eye, but think that black eyeshadow may be a little heavy for you, this is your ticket. Blend shades of beige, gold, and chocolate across your lids for a dramatic, yet neutral smokey eye look.13

Champagne And Forest Green

For an alternative smokey eye look, try an unexpected color like gray, navy, plum, or forest green for your darker shade. Sweep this across your lid. Lightly blend this color into the crease of your eye and then work it into your bottom lash line. Use champagne to highlight the space below your brow and your inner corners.14

smokey eyes | City Beauty

Color Combinations For Bold Makeup Lovers

Navy And Pink

If you want to try a bold shade like navy, consider laying down a neutral pink base first. Apply the navy in your crease and outer corners of your eyes. If you have warm undertones, start with a peachy pink. If you have cool undertones, swipe on a cool pink first.15

Gold And Wine

Because it’s on the other end of the color wheel, burgundy eyeshadow can complement green and blue eyes beautifully. With this combination, you could use the gold to highlight the inner corners and middle of your lid and the wine to define your creases.16

Gold, Copper, And Brown

Neutral colors like gold, copper, and brown can look bold when you layer them and choose a shimmer finish. First, apply an eyeshadow primer or concealer to your eyelid. This can help bold colors pop. Then swipe on a base brown color and fill in the inner and center areas of your lid with gold. Apply the copper color to the outside of your eye and blend.17

Feel Free To Experiment With Colors And Finishes

Now that you have some inspiration for eyeshadow color combinations, it’s time to experiment and make them your own. Makeup is meant to be a fun, creative outlet, so there’s no need to feel confined by the rules. 

Try out a few of the color combinations above and see how they look. If they don’t work, you can swipe them off in a few seconds with some eye makeup remover. If they do, you may have just discovered your new signature look. 





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